James Royce, 44, pleaded guilty in a plea agreement with the state to felony charges of residential entry and escape and a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief in two separate cases. The state and defense argued Royce’s sentence to Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall.
In one case, Royce admitted that he forced his way into his aunt’s home without an invitation. In the second case, he admitted to escaping the custody of a jailer who was escorting him from the courthouse to the Starke County Jail. Royce had appeared for a hearing in Starke Circuit Court and Judge Hall ordered him back to jail. Royce admitted that he “panicked” and ran. The jailer suffered an injury chasing after Royce. Royce was apprehended approximately 20 minutes after he escaped custody. He also admitted to tampering with the GPS ankle bracelet he was wearing as he had been on home detention through Starke County Community Corrections.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan argued for the maximum allowable sentence on each charge while defense attorney Martin Bedrock asked for a lesser sentence to be served on home detention.
Royce gave an emotional statement to the court asking for a chance to be responsible for his actions. He apologized to the court and to his mother who was in attendance during the court proceedings. He said there is someone who is willing to give him a job and to give him another chance.
Judge Hall stated that the aggravating factors outweigh the factors in his favor in his case. With Royce’s inability to successfully complete probation and inability to learn from his five previous prison sentences, Judge Hall ordered Royce to serve a total of 73 months in the Indiana Department of Corrections with no time suspended. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $1,325 to Corrisoft, LLC for the damage incurred to the GPS device. He may petition the court for a modification of his sentence but no terms where decided.